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Board Internships

As part as our Leadership Class program participants are asked to stand on a community nonprofit board of their choosing.  Over 80% of participants remain on their chosen nonprofit board after the program is completed.  This opportunity is highly beneficial for both the Leadership Cumberland class members and the nonprofit involved.

Leadership Cumberland “Fellowships” (formerly internships) provide a unique chance for emerging leaders to serve as a non-voting ex-officio member on a nonprofit Board of Directors/Trustees.   The organizations that offer such partnerships and serve as “learning labs” for Leadership Cumberland Fellows are vitally important to the overall program and experience.  The opportunity for Fellows to observe and integrate leadership and governance concepts is invaluable and truly appreciated by the Leadership Cumberland Board of Directors.

This “Memorandum of Understanding” is to ensure a high level of satisfaction for both the organization and the designated intern, now referred to as Fellow in keeping with the program.  Fellowships begin in September and are completed in either May or June as determined between the Fellows and site.   There is no expectation among the Fellows, sites or Leadership Cumberland that board positions will become permanent and no Fellow is to be inducted as a board member during the year. 

  • What does Leadership Cumberland provide to the Fellowship site?

    The Executive Director provides basic administrative support such as communication via email, routine follow up discussions with the Fellows, and logistical arrangements: needs beyond these should be negotiated in order to meet your expectations;

    • Excellent exposure of your mission and program to emerging leaders, both the assigned Fellow and the full class;
    • A link to your organization on the Leadership Cumberland website, creating a unique marketing partnership;
    • Networking opportunities occur throughout the year through invitations to multiple events with the class, Board and alumni;
    • Fellowship sites will be recognized at graduation through both presentation and the program;
    • Confidentiality is expected of all participants and a core value of the program;
    • Issue resolution is offered should any uncomfortable situations arise between the site and the Fellow;
    • Fellows are expected to attend and fully participate in their sites’ governing activities as well as conducting themselves in a way that best represents both Leadership Cumberland and the Fellowship site.
  • What does Leadership Cumberland expect of the Fellowship sites?
    • An orientation to the organization’s structure and operations is important, including copies of the bylaws, organizational chart, strategic plan with vision and mission statements, current budget and audit, brochures and board list,
    • A volunteer mentor from the governing board, i.e. not staff, will be assigned to support the Fellow and serve as a source of information and contact. Several one on one meetings throughout the Fellowship are encouraged. Beyond the mentor, access to both the volunteer and staff leadership should be available if requested;
    • Since meaningful exposure to the governance of the organization is necessary and at the core of the Fellowship experience, the board or executive committee needs to meet monthly unless an alternative arrangement had been negotiated. Details of such meetings are expected as noted below;
    • Involvement with committee work is to be negotiated with the Fellow. Some will want a depth of experience while due to time constraints others may focus only on the primary board tasks. The ultimate goal is to appreciate the fundamentals of board governance and the skills required to produce a highly functional board. Invitations to the executive committee or other functions are at the discretion of the site.
    • Any special requests or needs should be noted below so that the Fellow can be sure to meet your expectations;
    • Fellows are not to be involved with fundraising unless they agree to do so and personal contributions to fundraising efforts are not to be required.

    Public entities such as planning commissions or zoning boards will be considered upon request.

    Leadership Cumberland reserves the right to select listings for Fellowship sites based on our mission and the ability of the partner organization, Leadership Cumberland and the Fellow to meet expectations.

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